The taste of freshly baked bread. The first slender asparagus on a market stall. A sudden childhood memory stirred by the smell of roasted strawberries. A mind-blowing dining experience in a rural restaurant. Creating memories with Livia rolling our sourdough crackers on a Sunday afternoon. Where would you share it?
With this question, comes the evolution of my food writing.
When I started Juls’ Kitchen fourteen years ago, on this very day, my answer was here, on the blog. This is where I learnt to write about food, where I actually discovered I liked to write about food, and that it could be a profession.
On the blog, over the years, I locked in some of my most cherished memories: my jump in the food writing world, when I met Tommaso, our wedding, the arrival of Livia, and when I became a mum. There was a thrill in writing a blog post, in picking the right recipe that would suit the moment, a seasonal occasion, or simply my mood.
Today, in our newsletter Letters from Tuscany, I share the evolution of my food writing, from a blog to Substack. It took me almost two years to find my voice on Substack because I had to make up with the idea that I was not cheating on my blog when I was sharing my recipes and stories there. Read it here and head over to the newsletter to share your two cents on the evolution of food writing.
RECIPE. Torta di nocciole – Hazelnut cake
Today, to celebrate this personal milestone, I share a hazelnut cake that you already loved on Instagram. It is a moist cake, with the nutty flavour of hazelnuts enhanced by a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder.
This hazelnut cake, inspired by the classic Piedmontese torta di nocciole, is surprising in its simplicity: the recipe is adapted from the torta di nocciole of Nonna Genia, a brilliant cookbook about Langhe cuisine, the hilly area in Piedmont famous for wine grapes, white truffles, hazelnuts, and heritage fruit varieties. This precious book helped me in the research of local recipes for our cookbook, Cucina Povera. The cake is so simple that, when mentioning the required tools to make it, the authors Beppe Lodi e Luciano De Giacomi simply list a bowl, a wooden spoon, and a cake pan (un’insalatiera, una forma da torte, un cucchiaio). I knew immediately this was right up my alley.
Make the hazelnut cake for breakfast, serve it with a hot cup of tea, and smother it with raspberry jam. For an after-dinner treat, serve the cake with an espresso and a coffee or chocolate icing.
- 3 eggs
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 100 grams whole milk
- 100 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 200 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 8 grams baking powder
- 1 tablespoon bitter cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 150 grams toasted hazelnuts, finely minced
- Powdered sugar, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F, then butter and dust with flour a 22 cm/9inch round cake pan.
- Break the eggs in a large bowl, add the sugar, and whisk until the eggs are pale and light.
- Whisk in the whole milk, the melted butter, and the olive oil, and mix until you get a smooth, liquid batter.
- Sift the all-purpose flour with cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, then add them to the better along with the hazelnut flour. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients, paying attention to remove all the lumps. You’ll have a smooth, dense batter now.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and transfer to the hot oven.
- Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown.
- Remove the cake from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool down.
- When the cake is cold, dust it with powdered sugar.
- The hazelnut cake can be kept on the counter, covered with a paper napkin or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, for 3 to 4 days.